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Craig takes over Ford Canada; New CEO is a UB grad and native of Buffalo

Ford Motor Co. has named a Buffalo native and University at Buffalo alumna as CEO of its Canadian subsidiary, putting her in charge of plants and operations with a direct connection to the carmaker's stamping plant in the Town of Hamburg.

The Dearborn, Mich.-based automaker appointed veteran executive Dianne Craig as president of Ford Motor Co. of Canada Ltd., effective next Tuesday.

She succeeds David Mondragon, who has served as president and CEO since August 2008 and will now become general marketing manager for Ford and Lincoln in the United States.

Craig, who was born in Buffalo and graduated from UB, takes the helm of the Canadian unit just a year after Mondragon led it to replace General Motors Co. as the auto sales leader in Canada for the first time in more than 50 years. Craig is now responsible for maintaining that position.

"Dave's contributions to Ford of Canada during the last three years have been significant," Mark Fields, Ford's president of the Americas, stated in a news release. "This positive marketplace momentum will continue to build as Dianne shares her extensive dealer relations skills, sales background and marketing expertise with the Ford of Canada team."

Ford of Canada operates assembly plants in Oakville and St. Thomas, Ont., plus two engine plants in Windsor, Ont., and parts distribution centers in Brampton, Ont., and Edmonton, Alberta. Ford's Buffalo Stamping Plant in the Town of Hamburg supplies parts for the Oakville plant.

Craig, a 25-year company veteran, has been general manager for the Southeast Market Area in the United States since March 2009. Based in Atlanta, she is responsible for all marketing, sales and service operations for 520 Ford and Lincoln Mercury dealers in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina.

Previously, she managed the company's U.S. Ford and Lincoln Mercury dealer relations efforts, directing the National Ford and Lincoln Mercury Dealer Council process and other related activities, including national dealer meetings.

She joined Ford straight out of college in 1986 in an entry-level field position and held a variety of sales and marketing positions, such as in advertising, product marketing, contests and incentives, and field operations, including as manager of Ford's Blue Oval Certified customer service program.

Besides her 1986 UB degree in mathematics, Craig earned a master's degree in business leadership from Ohio State University's Max M. Fisher College of Business in 2000.

email: jepstein@buffnews.com

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